China Plans Global Satellite Communications Network

China plans to launch a test satellite for a global communications constellation by the end of this year.

The Hongyun project, launched by CASIC in September 2016, has the goal of building a space-based communications network of 156 small satellites in orbit about 1,000 kilometers above the Earth. It would become operational about 2022.

Researchers are designing the Hongyun satellite and will finish the design this year, Zhang said.

After the technology demonstration satellite, the academy will lift four Hongyun satellites by the end of 2020 to form a small network for the project’s trial run, according to Zhang. He said once the trial run proves successful, CASIC will start to launch the Hongyun satellites to establish a global constellation.

When the Hongyun project is complete, it will cover the whole world and offer round-the-clock communication services to users in polar regions, who now have difficulties accessing telecommunication and internet services, Zhang said.

Read the full story.